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Local veterans get heroes’ welcome on Honor Flight

Blue Grass Energy member Mr. Noel Phillips at the WWII memorial during the 2016 Honor Flight.

Hundreds of patriotic, flag-waving citizens gave two local veterans ─ and 41 other Kentucky veterans ─ a welcome home on Saturday, August 27th that they will never forget.

Richard Peters of Nicholasville and Noel Phillips of Cynthiana were among the 43 war veterans who traveled from Lexington to Washington, D.C., Aug. 27, as part of this year’s Honor Flight. Both Mr. Peters and Mr. Phillips traveled with the other Kentucky veterans from World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War for the one-day tour of war memorials erected in their honor in the nation’s capital.

Mr. Peters and Mr. Phillips represented Blue Grass Energy, which sponsored their all-expense paid trip.

“Of the memorials we saw, I was most impressed with the Korean War Memorial,” said Mr. Peters. “ I lost a very dear friend in that war. All the memorials are really something to see. Every American should have the opportunity to see them.”

Blue Grass Energy member Noel Phillips participates in the wreath ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery during the 2016 Honor Flight.

Mr. Phillips was chosen from the delegation to assist in laying the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.  “That was one of the highlights of the trip for me,” commented Mr. Phillips.

This was the sixth year Blue Grass Energy and Kentucky’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives sponsored an Honor Flight, and it was the first year of partnering with Honor Flight Kentucky,

which was founded in December 2015. Honor Flight Kentucky is a new chapter of the national Honor Flight network.

“We owe both Mr. Peters and Mr. Phillips along with the other heroes from Kentucky so much,” said Barry Drury, Blue Grass Energy’s Vice President of Member Services. “This is the greatest generation, and it was unbelievable how they were cheered and greeted everywhere they went in Washington.”

The veterans flew from Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., where soldiers and citizens clapped loudly before they boarded two buses for a full day of honors and sightseeing. They visited the World War II and Korean War memorials on the National Mall.

Blue Grass Energy member Mr. Richard Peters at the WWII memorial during the 2016 Honor Flight.

In Arlington, Va., the group toured the Marine Corps War Memorial, saw the Air Force Memorial and watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

The response at each memorial was overwhelming. Visitors surrounded the veterans. Children and adults alike shook their hands, took photos, and waved flags. Just before the return flight to Lexington, the veterans were treated to a bit of nostalgia, as they experienced “mail call,” just as they had when they were young servicemen.  

To further honor this year’s Honor Flight participants, Blue Grass Energy helped to organize a special welcome for their return. Families, friends and supporters packed the terminal at Blue Grass Airport to welcome them home.

“Supporting and volunteering with programs like Honor Flight is just part of fulfilling our cooperative purpose,” commented Drury. “It was our privilege to help in making life better, the cooperative way, for those veterans who flew on our sixth Honor Flight.”





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